About a month ago, I went to a talk at the recently re-opened New Museum in New York City that featured three artists presenting works in the museum’s inaugural exhibit, “Unmonumental”. One of the artists, Shinique Smith, was particularly interesting. In her pieces, called Bale Variants, Smith compiles clothing and other textiles such as shirts, blankets, and stuffed animal bodies, and makes them into bales. These are replicas of the bales of used clothing that are sent to third world countries to help clothe the needy. I was particularly intrigued by her technique, the ways in which she played with colors and had a sense of humor (in the biggest Bale Variant featured in the exhibit, one can easily see the head of a Tigger doll). But also interesting, was how she acquired these garments. As she stated in the talk, many of them were found on the street. There’s something poignant about being able to find unwanted clothes just lying on the around on the streets of Manhattan.
And that’s why I love recycling. I always give my unwanted clothes to a charity, be it Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or Housing Works. But now, it’s even easier. Cool Hunting recently reported on a new collection service called “Wearable Collections” that will place textile collection bins in your residential or office building, making it easy to simply drop off your items. Then, they’ll donate these items to places that really need them. Instead of ending up in a landfill, your clothes are reused and recycled, thereby reducing the amount of trash in our landfills (that Reduce, Reuse, Recycle phrase never seems to disappear from our lives, does it?).
This is also why Brastilo is doing its part, as much as it can; to help keep the amount of trash that enters our landfills to a minimum. Several of the accessories we sell are sourced from recycled materials; our Blue Paper Bowl, as discussed in previous posts, is made of recycled newspapers, the Banana Leaf Hanging Lamp, also previously discussed on this blog, is made from banana leaves, and the Tropical Flag Wall Art is made from “hand-painted recycled logs rescued from old buildings.” To quote our Web site, these are all “beautiful example[s] of the many ways Brazilian artisans are using sustainable products to create spectacular works of art.” Thankfully, it’s not just Brazilian artisans who are doing their part.
I feel a little proud of my fellow man right now. Sigh.